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Brussels, 2 June 2018
In its resolution on the Schengen area of 30 May 2018, the European Parliament (EP) reaffirmed its support for the “immediate accession” of Bulgaria and Romania to the Schengen area, and that of Croatia as soon as this country meets the accession criteria.
In addition to this injunction to the Council, the Parliamentary Plenary Assembly adopted the resolution presented by Monica Macovei on behalf of the LIBE Committee on Wednesday 13 June in order for the Council to lift the remaining restrictions on the access of these two countries to the free movement area.
The explanatory memorandum begins with a reminder of the Council conclusions of 9 June 2011 confirming that “the conditions in all areas of the Schengen acquis relating to air borders, land borders, police cooperation, data protection, the Schengen Information System (SIS), maritime borders and visas had been fulfilled by Bulgaria and Romania”. The decision now expected from the Council concerns the remaining restrictions on the use of the SIS by these two countries.
The rapporteur considers that “Bulgaria and Romania play an essential role in surveillance operations in the Black Sea, as well as on the Danube”; because of their common borders with Turkey, Moldova, Ukraine, Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, these two countries “constitute important buffer zones at the entry into the Schengen area”. Furthermore, Romania is “an important contributor to the logistics operations of the European border and Coast Guard Agency”.
Consequently, she considers that the removal of all restrictions relating to the use of the SIS will give Romania and Bulgaria the means to ensure the same level of protection at the Union’s external borders as the one guaranteed by the other Member States of the Schengen area. This will be an important asset to “strengthen the level of security of the Schengen area and the effectiveness of the fight against serious crime and terrorism”.
In order to speed up Member States’ decision-making (necessarily unanimously), Monica Macovei asked the Parliament to approve the Council’s draft a text without amendment; which has now been done.
To go further:
Report on the Council’s draft decision concerning the implementation in the Republic of Bulgaria and Romania of the remaining provisions of the Schengen acquis relating to the Schengen Information System; 29 May 2018 – Report on the draft Council decision concerning the implementation in the Republic of Bulgaria and Romania of the remaining provisions of the Schengen acquis relating to the Schengen Information System [15820/2017 – C8-0017/2018 2018/0802(CNS)]